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Showing posts from June, 2016

Notable words, Q3 2016

Saffronisation (Hinglish n.): official idealisation of ancient Hindu society: nationalist indoctrination masked as anti-Orientalism. At the limit, includes claims that Vedic India had TV, cars, and stem cell therapy. See also bhagwakaran.

Dark pool (n.): a secret asset market (private as in not governmental and private as in confidential). No transparency, no public "market depth" reporting or identities. Reduces market impact of your trading and hides your strategies from others. Legal, mostly.

Brownout (US n.): Reduction in the available electricity supply which knocks out high-voltage devices for a number of hours. Sometimes intentional, to stop e.g. thunderstorms from overloading the grid and causing fires. A mediocre blackout.

salty (adj.): touchy; of a person who is acting irritable because of their failure. A taunt in PvP culture. Britain is very salty at the moment.

Convex hull (n.): The smallest symmetrical shape that contains all of a given set of points. Awesome wor…

Highlighted passages in Holloway's Leaving Alexandria

God chose to empty himself of language and become a life. But along comes Christianity and turns it back into words, trillions of them, poured out incessantly in pulpit, book and on the airwaves, reducing the mystery of what is beyond all utterance to chatter. I told them I had come to mind religious overconfi­dence more than I minded its atheistic opposite, because atheists did not claim to put ultimate reality into words.

agnosticism should not be described as a hypothesis, because it is not positing an answer to the question so much as learning to live without one

...there is no doubt that Anglo-Catholicism, as it evolved, became attractive to gay men, though the reasons for this are probably more theo­logically rooted than is commonly understood. The high camp aesthetic of the more florid wings of the movement was clearly attractive to a certain kind of gay sensibility, as anyone who has had to negotiate a high mass in one of the more fashionable outposts of Anglo-Catholicism will t…

Late Review: The Theory that Would Not Die: How Bayes' Rule Cracked the Enigma Code (...) (2012) by Sharon McGrayne

(c) Red Rationality (1987) by Wang Guangyi

A slightly forced oral history of the least romanticised scientists: Bayesian statisticians. She makes up for the long-missing romanticism single-handed! The two-hundred year eclipse of the Bayesian method was much longer than that suffered by even the irrationally-maligned continental drift theory (50 years). And this neglect and opprobrium was suffered by a paradigm now accepted everywhere as powerful and useful in literally all kinds of research.

She wins us over, particularly with her chapter on the secretive, truculent, omnicompetent genius John Tukey, who used Bayesian methods for elections 40 years before Fivethirtyeight, with comparable success. But her prose is borderline, with lots of clear but dim-bulb sentences. She has one infuriating mannerism: she constantly refers to Bayes' rule, Bayesian logical foundations after Bayes, Bayesian inference, and personalist Bayesian epistemology by the single terrible metonym "Bayes&q…